Texas is a land of juxtapositions. Of fresh bright Mexican foods, and fried fried fried Southern food. Of $500 leather cowboy boots and novelty sombreros. Of cheap fuel and cars as big as caravans. I found it difficult to really grasp the cultural existence of Texans. Perhaps it’s silly of me to think of culture as something tangible. If there is one conclusion I can draw from traversing the Deep South, it’s that bigger is better in Texas.
My holiday started in San Antonio. My Airbnb “just a step from downtown” was actually based in the ‘burbs a 45 fast walk from anything considered central. After searching desperately for something that could closely imitate a fresh vegetable, I found myself more than an hour from home. Physically disgruntled I was approached by an employee finishing work and offered a drive some. Southern hospitality I thought, convincing myself the offer was nothing but sincere. And indeed it was.
A day trip included visiting Bandera, the cowboy capital of the world. This was perhaps the highlight of my Southern jaunt. If you want authentic cowboy boots and authentic southern views this is for you. I had a lively conversation with a woman in a milk bar who couldn’t imagine life without guns. After a lengthy chat we learnt that we were never going to share views, and instead shared a coke float.
Next stop was Austin, and indeed is it weird. Phenomenal food trucks, suburban streets wider than highways, groovy art galleries, and hipster vintage stores. The people of Austin were just as weird and wonderful. This is a city I could spend more time in.
My final destination was Houston, and no we did not have a problem. Our chic apartment overlooked the city and its abundance of churches. Like good tourists we attended NASA and were genuinely impressed. I learnt more about space than I did in the whole of high school. For example, did you know that man who invented Super Soaker squirt gun was in fact a NASA Scientist, who also helped in developing the Galileo mission to Jupiter. Fun! Houston also served up a winner when it taught me the honky tonk dance. I tapped and spun and kicked and tilted for hours, and giggled for days.
So Texas really did shape up in the end. If you want culture, science, enormous highways, even larger meals, and genuine southern hospitality, ya’ll should put Texas on your list.